Hey there folks, welcome to this year’s edition of Halloween class. Yes, all you in the back settle down. We have work to do. We have a persistent myth to debunk.
@TheRealElvira She’s on Twitter. Now that I have your attention:
Smoking weed does not automatically turn you into an unhinged psychopath. It does not fill you with the desire to stuff drugs into everybody around you. Just as with OTHER controlled substances such as tobacco, coffee, alcohol, etc., those of us consenting adults who partake, whether for medical or recreational reasons, do not take leave of our common sense.
The myth, passed around in panicky news reports every year at Halloween, goes that drug-crazed maniacs are going to stuff drugged candy into your kid’s trick ‘r’ treat bag. This myth is so thoroughly debunked that Wikipedia itself hosts a whole page about it. In short, research has found no basis for this myth in fact; even the few reported cases turned out to have some other cause than strangers spiking Halloween candy.
Now if you’re rolling your eyes and saying “Well duh!” Have you met my home state of Iowa?
> “Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller this week warned Iowans about the hazards of marijuana edibles to children on Halloween. He shared photos on social media of marijuana products with packages resembling common food brands such as Oreo and Doritos.
“Halloween festivities are just around the corner. Make sure you check your child’s treats for these illegal cannabis products that look like popular snacks and candy,” Miller’s office wrote in a Twitter post that has since been deleted.”
That article also goes on to point out that this belief in the Halloween candy-spiker has no basis in reality.
You can take the word of Origin of Everything:
Quite the fact-packed video, if you want a full history of Halloween. As they point out, yes, one or two cases of sickos have popped up. They were caught and immediately arrested. There are some sad stories in these cases, so trigger warning. But the overall phenomenon is a myth; in fact, the few reported cases showed up after the myth took hold, when people were trying to exploit the myth to cover up for murder.
Similar myths have gone around for decades about other Halloween candy contaminants: needles, razor blades, poison, what-have-you. It reflects tragically on our society that such an idea would persist in the first place. But where does it come from?
Modern media has been proven to have a mass psychological effect, an effect named “the Mean World Syndrome.” It works like this: You only have so much time to consume media per day. You cram in the evening news every day. In half an hour’s time, the TV news tends to cover those stories deemed important, and scary murders are at least important to their local community. But this has the downward effect in a large metropolitan area of making a news broadcast that’s “murder murder murder weather sports” every day.
We see one isolated incident and respond “What is the world coming to?” Random mass chaos becomes normalized in our perception. So a few isolated incidents stick in our minds, and we scare ourselves thinking that they’re more common than they actually are.
Points to that video for name-checking The Black Mirror! Loved that show.
I’ll prove Mean World Syndrome right now. Without looking it up, how many people die annually from shark attacks? Here’s the chart:
You’ve seen dozens of shark attack movies come and go. Discovery Channel Shark Week, amirite? Sharks capture the imagination in a way that other deadly animals do not. I’ve never seen a horror movie about snails, but apparently they kill 20K people per year. It seems the freshwater snail carries parasitic worms that infect people with a disease called schistosomiasis. In case you thought snails were running over people with cars or something.
Bottom line: Sensationalized one-off stories of carnage get so much focus that we think they are more common than they actually are.
@AGIowa has since deleted his tweet, but you gotta be pretty quick on the draw to stop me from saving an image:
So he posted these as examples of the threat of cannabis edibles in your kids’ trick ‘r’ treat bag. Next, several of us, yours truly included, pointed out that not only is he citing a myth, but his picture is of fake, unlicensed, black market edibles at that. As we coooooooonstantly point out here on DabConnection, there are fake brands of anything in cannabis you can name out there.
But obviously, international brand names like Cadbury, Nabisco, Post, or Frito-Lay, would NOT sign off on having THC-infused versions of their products out there. Cannabis packaging laws in every state where its legal have all made sure to forbid packaging that resembles a kid-friendly product.
However, I’m just using Iowa’s attorney general as an example because that came out just yesterday. Like I’ve pointed out, he is far from the Lone Ranger. Here’s the Illinois A-G doing the same thing, with the same packaging pictures, at that:
And here it is from the New Jersey A-G in 2017:
It’s that crevice between the public perception of cannabis and its reality, that pulls people to believe in the drug-crazed maniac handing out doped candy. As we recently pointed out, 1930s exploitation films baked in many of these dumb ideas about marijuana, aimed mostly at demonizing minorities by association.
Which is why the myth often cites drug users. But look what’s going on in the world of alcohol:
They make actual chocolate candy booze bottles, even wrapped in foil just like Halloween candy. So where are the news stories about drunks handing out chocolate Jack Daniels bottles? None? Didn’t think so.
Please come forward if you’re the weirdo doing this. Your confession starts here in the comments or in the glaring judgment of our forum.
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